Just some thoughts about the recent Indiegogo campaign for the film Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre which is part of the Russian theatre Film Series.The campaign didn’t reach its goal by a long way but it taught me a great deal about the way I make films and the way I have been making them over the past ten years or so. First of all the experience connected me with a lot of people on the internet through Twitter and through other social network sites. In some ways it raised my game in this sphere and raised my awareness of the possibilities of using the internet to further ones film making goals and project. I was also very appreciative of the support and interest which people showed in particular the director/writer/producer David Baker (City of Sin Universe) and the actor Andrew Elias. I will be thanking everybody who supported me on this site and the main Vakhtangov site in the near future.
What I learned however is this is not necessarily the only way for me to raise finance for my films. I’m not saying I wouldn’t go down the crowd funding route again but the project would have to be more tailored to such a task. The other thing to mention is that the films I make are quite specific and niche orientated. They have an audience and they can be located and reached out to but they don’t necessarily want to be involved in the film through crowd funding. I may be wrong about this but I think its a fair guess. Still I was glad I tried it and the experience I attained through mistakes I made and knowledge gained will not be lost. The crowd funding campaign was largely meant to raise funds for locations, in particular the Vakhtangov Museum and access to archives and other materials and locations.
During the period of the campaign I decided to take the bull by the horns and approach the Vakhtangov Museum practically empty handed so to speak. In this I was aided by a friend of my wife who introduced me to a valuable contact. They in turn introduced me to the administration of the Vakhtangov Museum. Luckily the people at the museum, which is owned by the Vakhtangov Theatre, responded extremely positively to the project and made the location available and more. There was a certain amount of back and forward discussions between all parties but an agreement was reached and I was able to go ahead and gain access to some superb material, some of which has never been seen anywhere This consisted in documents, photographs, letters and other artefacts connected with Vakhtangov all unique and rare.
The point of all this is – how does one create value in a film? Is it directly with money or through other means or a bit of both? Making a documentary film entails a bit of both but the most important thing is establishing relationships with people. In some ways you can’t buy that and it goes a long way in making a project work better and creating value in a film. Rex Sikes discusses this at some length in his blogtalk show with Nicholas Tabarrok.
If anything the experience of crowd funding has reinforced that understanding for me, something which I had been aware of and had practised but needed to reaffirm.
Moving forward with the Russian Theatre Film series. Researching and writing and setting up related sites which will contain information about the progress of the films individually and the series as a whole. Two more web sites are now in preparation and will be the main focus for organising and distributing information about the whole project. There will be one site which will focus on the series as a whole and connect to the other pages and sites. To see it click here.
Some videos of the latest process and progress of the series can be found as clips and related information which is built around “Chekhov Country” This is a small on-line project which will loosely chronicle the series “Russian Theatre of the Early 20th Century” in documentary form with videos clips from some of my travels in and around places in Russia connected with the films and series, behind the scenes footage and generally related material. The first few are about last summer where I wrote most of the first draft material for the scripts. More to come soon.
Main work carrying on at a reasonable pace with various welcome distractions and diversions. One of which was an interview of Eamon Gilmore, the Irish Foreign minister who was in Moscow a week or two ago to sign a trade agreement with Medvedev and which I recorded together with Estelle Winters of “The Voice of Russia” who conducted the interview . You can listen to the whole interview here.
Central House of Artists - Moscow
Tomorrow and Sunday the J-FEST of Japanese Contemporary culture is being held at the Central House of Artists in Moscow in central Moscow. Its a two day exhbition of all the elements of modern Japanese culture from fashion to manga and Anime to music with an accent on new directions in Japanese art and culture. Today we received press accreditation and I intend to film this event.
All the other work moving along step by step. Today there is another episode of the web documentary “Japan - Philosophical Landscapes” An ongoing film and internet project about Japanese landscape and its expression in Japanese art, culture and living. Watch below.
The theatre projects centred around a film adaptation of “The Fairground Booth” is still very much in a development stage of writing and research and at them moment is on the back burner as I clear my way through other projects.
This exhibition examines Russian avant-garde architecture made during a brief but intense period of design and construction that took place from c.1922 to 1935. Fired by the Constructivist art that emerged in Russia from c.1915, architects transformed this radical artistic language into three dimensions, creating structures whose innovative style embodied the energy and optimism of the new Soviet Socialist state.
The drive to forge a new Socialist society in Russia encouraged synthesis between radical art and architecture. This creative reciprocity was reflected in the engagement with architectural ideas and projects of such artists as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Liubov Popova, El Lizzitsky, Ivan Kluin and Gustav Klucis, and in designs by such architects as Konstantin Melnikov, Moisei Ginsburg, Ilia Golosov and the Vesnin brothers, as well as Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, European architects who were draughted in to help shape the new utopia.
The exhibition juxtaposes large-scale photographs of extant buildings with relevant Constructivist drawings and paintings, vintage photographs and periodicals. Many of the works have never been shown in the UK before.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a reconstruction of Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International, known as ‘Tatlin’s Tower’, specially commissioned from Jeremy Dixon of Dixon Jones Architects has been installed in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard.
A supporting exhibitionin the Architecture Space (23 September – 29 January 2012) explores the conception, vision and symbolism of Tatlin’s Tower and uncovers the intriguing process undertaken for its special recreation at the Royal Academy.
Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with the SMCA-Costakis Collection, Thessaloniki, and with the participation of the Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, and Richard Pare.
Moscow is still in the throes of a beautiful autumn. Crisp and cold with the sun shining through the autumn leaves as you walk about the streets of the city. Yesterday morning awoke to a stunning fiery Moscow dawn. Right across the far side of the city from our apartment, windows were ablaze with the reflection of the early morning sunrise. Several days of trying to complete numerous tasks all in one go and not succeeding. Trying to finish the book Journey to Ogasawara or at least trying to finish the art work and composing to get it ready for publication as an e-book and as a normal book as well. On top of this there has been the preparation of two of the films form the Russian Avant-garde series and also the film “Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre”. Ran into some technical problems here and there but gradually they are sorting themselves out. Books have been arriving from far and wide as part of the research process into “The Fairground Booth” project but because of all the other things happening it has been almost impossible to pay it the attention it requires. As far as the project “Japan – Philosophical Landscapes” is concerned there is much material available, it simply needs to be reworked for the internet. I have to admit its taking longer than I expected to get this film ready but there is nothing can be done.
Have been updating the web site to include a store front which specifically gives the opportunity for those in the UK who are interested in buying Copernicus Films DVDs the opportunity to do so. Previously it was necessary to buy the disc on Amazon.com in the USA and pay for shipping to the UK. People have been approaching me on social websites and by e-mail wanting to purchase the discs in the UK. Now there is a facility to purchase disc in the UK with free shipping. Check here for more information. Alternatively click on the tab above PURCHASE DVDs ON LINE and in the sub menu click “Purchase DVDs in the UK”
A long time has passed, or so it seems, since completeing the film "Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre" and a process of reflection has replaced the frenetic rush to finish the film in time for the premiere and get it released at roughly the same time. The […]
After a decade working in the film industry in the UK, mostly on the packaging of feature films for international prodcution companies and later in the financial and production aspects of feature films, he travelled to Moscow in 1995 to make films and write where he has lived and worked ever since. He started making his first documentary film about Alexander Rodchenko in 1998 and from this experience embarked on series of films about the Russian Avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s. Three more films in the series followed:"Architecture and the Russian Avant-garde and , "Meyerhold, Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde" and "Mayakovsky" . Two further films have now been completed "David Burliuk and the Japanese Avant-garde, with locations in Moscow Tokyo and Kyoto and a 6th film "Kandinsky and the Russian House" shot in Germany and Russia. Michael Craig returned to Japan for two 3 month periods to shoot a film about Japanese culture and art. The project is called Japan Philosophical Landscapes and is being released in short episodes on the internet-Click Here to Watch for Free.In 2011 a documentary about the Russian theatre director and founder of MXAT (The Moscow Art Theatre)